Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Hanoi International Music Festival

(Click the title above for Voice of Vietnam Article with an interview with yours truly)

The Hanoi International Music Festival was a celebration of the Minsk Club's 10th anniversary. For those of you who don't know, the Minsk is a soviet motorbike that has a cult status in South East Asia. These durable machines seem to be indestructible and while noisy and smokey, are driven with pride by expats and Vietnamese alike.
My day started off with a 9:30 am sound check in drizzly rain and grey skies. While we were not to see the sun for the entire day, it did stop raining and there was a wonderful breeze that kept the festivities cool and comfortable. After sound check I went back home to drop of the motorbike as I was planning on being in no shape to drive by the end of the festival. I came back at noon to see the first band play to very few people. When we hit the stage at 3:30 there were a few hundred people on hand. The show went well except for some problems with the last song. We had a great reception from those in attendance.
In the hour following our set, I was interviewed by Voice of Vietnam and had my picture taken by photographers from different publications. I was a bit of a Vinastar for the afternoon. I got a lot of great video and will be putting something together for the site. I will have to edit it for length as the file will undoubtedly be too large to post. Stay tuned for that video.
There was much drinking going on with beer stalls all over the place and a store next door providing cheap bottles to be smuggled inside. Everyone was feeling fine when the final bands took to the stage to disturb the entire neighborhood surrounding the American Club. But, considering we were on American soil, the local police did not have a lot to say about it.
This was the first show of its kind in Hanoi, and based on the size of the crowd, was a complete success. I hope that it paved the way for more festivals like it, down the road. Speaking of which, we will be playing another outdoor festival on May 10th called The Big Day Out, which is a bit of an Aussie tradition, we are hoping this years event will be the biggest one yet.
Bye for now,
"In Minsk We Trust."

Friday, April 04, 2008

The Benefit To Our Benefit

Rory Dwyer is a friend and a regular at R&R tavern. He got into an accident early one morning a few weeks back and ended up in a coma with severe head trauma. His time in Vietnam, at least for now, is over. With his medical bills piling up and an emergency medical evacuation from Vietnam looming, some of his friends decided to have a benefit to raise money for Rory and his family who flew over from Ireland to collect him.
My band, Your Other Favorite Uncle, offered to play some music at the benefit. I was looking forward to practicing the set we are going to play on Saturday at the International Hanoi Music Festival, (click on the title of this blog for more info)
However, to my complete surprise, on the evening of the benefit we found out that our drummer,Mel, had been called away to Saigon at the last moment. We played our set without a drummer until when for the last two songs, Thuy, the drummer for Maysons Children, (R&R house band) stepped in and played with us. It was a little rough as far as que's and whatnot as he didn't know our songs, but he kept a solid enough beat for us to rock out a little at the end. All in all it wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting it to be, playing a set with no drummer. At least on Saturday we will be a full band for the large outdoor event that is pulling bands from Australia, the UK, Japan and Ukraine.
There was a raffle at the end of the evening where there were many good prizes raffled off. Karen and I sat as every prize came up and went to someone else. We watched as Zippo's, art, Leg of lamb, bottles of scotch and many more prizes were given other people. It was time for the big draw for the trip for two to Bangkok, Thailand and a two night stay at the Westin. We held our breath as Tim, the MC, wasted time and fumbled about drawing out the anticipation of the crowd. Then suddenly he called the number 137....Ed. I was stunned. I actually won something from a raffle, and not just anything, but the grand prize. Needless to say, Karen and I were overjoyed. We received many "Congratulations ya lucky bastard."'s and other such nods. The only thing left is for us to pick the weekend we want to go.
As for Rory, the evening was also a success, with proceeds hitting almost thirty million by the end of the night. Good on ya, Hanoi expat community. Well done.
Talk to you soon,